Recently, Judge Stanwood Duval, Jr. of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana, found the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers liable for damages resulting from Hurricane Katrina-related flooding that occurred in certain areas outside of New Orleans. In re Katrina Canal Breaches Consolidated Litigation, No. 05-04182 (E.D. La. Nov. 18, 2009). In holding the Army Corps liable, Judge Duval stated: “it is the court’s opinion that the negligence of the corps, in this instance by failing to maintain the MR-GO properly, was not policy, but insouciance, myopia and shortsightedness.” Click here for a copy of Judge Duval’s decision.

As previously reported here, here, and here, the trial involving claims that the Army Corps of Engineers was negligent in its maintenance of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet is of great interest to many. While Judge Duval awarded in total approximately $720,000 to the named plaintiffs, if Judge Duval’s ruling is upheld, between 80,000 to 100,000 people living in the area for which the Army Corps has been found liable will have renewed hope for success in pursuing a Katrina-related claim against the Army Corps. There have been some reports that the Army Corps will appeal Judge Duval’s decision.